‘Eco Car’ invited to London marathon

2016-05-05 06:00
=NMMU engineering students (mechanical, electrical and mechatronics) involved in the Eco Car project. From left are Chris Korte, Brett Steyn, Oseluole Enabor, Takudzwanashe Vudjizena, Martin Badenhorst and Jon-Ross Jacobs.                           Photo: SUPPLIED

=NMMU engineering students (mechanical, electrical and mechatronics) involved in the Eco Car project. From left are Chris Korte, Brett Steyn, Oseluole Enabor, Takudzwanashe Vudjizena, Martin Badenhorst and Jon-Ross Jacobs. Photo: SUPPLIED

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Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s fuel-efficient “Eco-Car” – which has been designed to travel nearly 300km on just one litre of fuel, was on display at the recently heldKnysna Motor Show.

NMMU’s display, themed “advanced mobility”, showcased the Eco-Car – the fruits of a global student project linked with Shell’s Eco-Marathon events – as well as the projects that fall under the national uYilo e-Mobility Technology Innovation Programme, which is hosted by NMMU.

The Eco-Car project, driven by Mechanical, Electrical Engineering and Mechatronics students, last year saw the five-member team designing and manufacturing a fully carbon composite prototype vehicle, which participated in the African leg of the Shell Eco-Marathon, in Pretoria in October.

“The objective of the Eco-Car project is to challenge students to manufacture an ultra-lightweight car to maximise fuel efficiency and determine how far the vehicle can travel on a litre of fuel,” said NMMU Mechanical Engineering lecturer Clive Hands.

A huge feather in the team’s cap, was an invitation to the flagship Shell Eco-Marathon event in London in June this year.

However Hands said the team had not yet been able to raise the R600 000 it would need to get there.

Should they participate, they will compete in the prototype class (geared for performance, rather than passenger comfort) where a conventional petrol engine has been modified to accept a programmable fuel injection unit to minimize fuel usage.

“The Eco-Car is also fitted with specially designed Michelin tyres with a rolling resistance 10 times better than conventional tyres,” said Hands.

The Shell Eco-Marathon is an established event worldwide with competitions in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa.

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